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  • 2 weeks later...

Athena 1

A Modern-Day Mission Concept for a Crewed Mission to Jupiter and Saturn

Written, Drawn, Engineered and Selected by Malcolm La Prairie




  • Mission Rationale, Page 2


  • Crew Dossier, Page 3


  • Engines, Page 14


  • Spacesuits, Page 16


  • Modules, Page 19


  • Vehicles, Page 22


  • Timeline, Page 27


  • Glossary, Page 36


  • Bibliography, Page 38



Currently, NASA and other space agencies are racing to get humans on Mars. The current goal of most western Space Agencies, as well as Japan and Russia, is getting humans to Mars. Mars is the centre of attention,at the moment.


But what if we skipped Mars? What if NASA, Roscosmos, the ESA, CSA, UKSA, and JAXA all got the funding that the national militaries got, or governments and people realized the importance of Space Exploration and decided to put more of their funding into their national space agency?


The scientific benefits of going further than Mars would be amazing. Jupiter has 67 incredible moons, four of them of significant size. Each one of the four has an interesting past, and amazing scientific benefits to reap. Saturn has interesting atmospheric properties, and a few interesting moons as well. The mission, which would be longer in duration than any other space mission in the past, could tell us some really interesting things about psychology and medicine.


However, if too much money is poured into R&D, it will defeat the purpose of the mission. Therefore, this mission will all be done with an R&D limit of fleshing out a concept using current capabilities..



Technical Qualifications: People looking to apply should apply for one of four streams- Engineering (Nuclear Technician, Systems Engineer), EVA (In-Flight EVA Specialist, Planetary EVA Specialist), Science (Geologist, Scientist), or Bridge (Commander, Pilot). Applicants will, of course, be allowed to apply to multiple streams.


Things valued in applicants will change depending on the stream they are applying to.


  • Applicants to Engineering should have degrees like Materials Engineering, Aerospace Engineering or Nuclear Physics, and work experience such as architecture or nuclear reactor technician.

  • People applying to EVA should have experience with things like Heavy Equipment Operation, Scuba Diving, Construction Work, and Piloting.

  • Science applicants should have experience in things like cartography, lab work, planetary geology, microbiology, and astrophysics.

  • Applicants to the bridge class should have had military officer experience in the past. If they do not have military piloting experience, they should have an airline pilot's license.


Personal Qualifications: When going on a long-duration mission such as Athena 1, certain personalities should be ruled out. Skill has no consequence if someone has an abrasive personality or won’t work well with others. Astronauts are diamonds in the rough when it comes to things like this. They have to be determined, responsible, hard working, intelligent and able to work well with others. Therefore, extensive screening must be done for personality as well as skill.


Makeup of the Crew: There will be eight crewmembers, and each will have a primary role and a backup role. The roles will be: Commander (Backup Pilot), Pilot (Backup Commander), Planetary EVA Specialist (Backup In-Flight EVA Specialist), In-Flight EVA Specialist (Backup Planetary EVA Specialist), Geologist (Secondary Scientist), Scientist (Backup Geologist), Nuclear Technician (Backup Systems Engineer), and Systems Engineer (Backup Nuclear Technician).


Role of Each Crew Member: Roles are listed below.


  1. Commander: Will be in charge of making decisions. Will keep up crew morale, and will double as an Occupational Therapist. Will be in charge of dispatches to ground control and news station. Will not be on any landing missions.

  2. Pilot: In charge of piloting ISEV Bucephalus and all landers and probes. Will be on most landing missions.

  3. Planetary EVA Specialist: In charge of sample collection, science package deployment, lander repair, and everything else to do with EVA on the surface of planets. Will be trained in working with spacesuits. Will be on all landing missions. Will be safety on the Saturn Ring Sample Collection.

  4. In-Flight EVA Specialist: In charge of repair, probe deployment, sample collection, and everything to do with EVA while not on a planetary surface. Will be on most landing missions. Will be the main sample collector on the Saturn Ring Sample Collection.

  5. Geologist: Will be in charge of Mapping, Orbital Survey, and secondary science duties. They will be the lab assistant to the scientist. They will be in charge of analyzing some samples. Some will be analyzed when they get home. They will be on no landing missions.

  6. The Scientist will be in charge of crew health, and analysing some of the Jupiter and Saturn Atmosphere samples. The Scientist will be in charge of all the lab activities, monitoring plant growth, bacterial microcultures, and everything else in the lab. The scientist will be on no landing missions.

  7. The Nuclear Technician will be in charge of monitoring the Magnetic Field Generator, the Gas Core Nuclear Engine, and the Nuclear Reactor. They will also help out the scientist and monitor the RTGs on the probes and landers. The Nuclear Technician will be on no landing missions.

  8. The Systems Engineer will be in charge of monitoring ship systems, and operating the remote arm and telescope. They will monitor the systems of landers and probes as well. They will be on no landing missions.


Contributing Countries: Countries who will contribute astronauts will be: USA (2), Canada, the ESA (Europe, excluding Britain), Japan, Britain, and Russia (2). The USA and Russia will be allowed to contribute two Astronauts each, because they are the world's biggest space agencies and will be contribute the most mission hardware and launchers.


Screening Process: One possible screening process, although it would be expensive, could rule out people that don’t fit with the appropriate personality type. It would be called the Fire Test. Due to the cost, it would only be feasible once there are only twenty candidates left.


A small orbiting station would be constructed, with a large central module, and five smaller modules around it. The five modules will only be able to be entered and exited through an airlock. If one of the four team members exits the airlock at any time before the time is up, the entire team will be disqualified. There will also be no communication with the outside. Various tasks must be completed, such as math tests, science tests, etc. The team will also be required to build a scale model of the ISEV Bucephalus. The test will last one week.


In the last five or six hours, there should be a fake electrical failure, along with false indications that a lot of air vented into space during the incident. The station will be put into a slight spin on all three axis to induce stress and distraction. There should be indications of enough air for three people to survive, but not four. Teams will be closely monitored to see how they react. If there is any danger of harm to a crewmember, a team will immediately be sent in. Even in this situation, teams who leave will be disqualified.


Some creative solutions looked for could be: Crewmembers could electrolyze water to create oxygen, they could lower the ambient temperature to cause medically induced hypothermia which lowers breathing rate and thus saves oxygen, or construct an air scrubber to recycle CO2. Any candidates who try to harm another candidate will be disqualified.


Commander: Ekaterina Romolov


Place of Birth: Volgograd, Russia

Space Agency: Roscosmos (Russia)


Image result for yelena serova



Psychology, Zhukovsky-Gagarin Military Academy


Military Command, Zhukovsky Military Academy

Work Experience

Major in the Russian Air Force, 11 years

Cosmonaut, 5 years


Rigid, Brave, Responsible

Fire Test Result

Calm, unwilling to kill other crewmembers, although she did not come up with a solution, kept the team working together.

Pilot: Alex Alchoujian


Place of Birth: Yerevan, Armenia

Space Agency: ESA (Europe)


Pedro Duque-detail.jpg



Aerospace Engineering, University of Toronto


Aerospace Technology, University of Bologna

Work Experience

Aerospace Engineering at Boeing, 2 years

Hobbyist Stunt Pilot, 7 years

Airline Pilot, 16 years

Armenian Air Force, 5 years


Quiet, very intelligent, kind

Fire Test Result

Immediately came up with the solution of electrolyzing water, and when they didn’t have the materials, was able to override safety controls to lower temperature and amount of oxygen, rendering all four crew unconscious, lowering the breathing rate.

In-Flight EVA Specialist: Hachirota Hoshino


Place of Birth: Kyoto, Japan

Space Agency: JAXA (Japan)


Image result for Takuya Onishi



Auto Repair


Systems Engineering

Work Experience

Underwater Construction Worker

Automobile Designer


Hot-Headed, perfectionist

Fire Test Results

Was able to construct an air scrubber with on-site materials to keep them alive.

Planetary EVA Specialist: Samantha Karim


Place of Birth: Toronto, Canada

Space Agency: CSA (Canada)


Image result for sunita williams



Space Engineering, York University


Masters of Aeronautical Engineering, RMCC, Doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering, RMCC

Work Experience

Engineer in SpaceX, five years

Sergeant in JTF2, ten years

Private Pilot's License, twenty eight years

NASA Mission Specialist Astronaut, six years


Fun-Loving, Happy, Intelligent, a bit unhinged

Fire Test Results

Incapacitated two crewmembers who were going to kill the fourth crewmember, and by knocking them out, lowered the oxygen consumption rate enough to make it through the test

Scientist: Martha Warsame


Place of Birth: Glasgow, Scotland

Space Agency: UKSA (UK)


Image result for mae jemison



Plasma Dynamics, MIT


Masters in Theoretical Physics, MIT

Doctorate in Theoretical Physics, MIT

Work Experience

Director of Lab Testing at Ad Astra, ten years

Director of Experimental Technologies at NASA, three years


Curious, Talkative, Tough, Independant

Fire Test Results

Built an air scrubber to recycle CO2 breathed out.

Geologist: John Smith


Place of Birth: New York, USA

Space Agency: NASA (USA)


Image result for scott kelly pumpkin suit



Geology, University of Chicago


Planetary Geology, University of Chicago

Work Experience

Planetary Geologist at NASA, three years
Planetary Cartographer at NASA, nine years


Funny, Kind, loves to work

Fire Test Results

Kept crew morale up, although he didn’t come up with a solution, he was very organized with people’s ideas, and organized parts on hand so they knew what they could do

Systems Engineer: Matt Tenant


Place of Birth: Montpelier, USA

Space Agency: NASA (USA)


Image result for leland melvin dogs



Engineering, MIT


Materials Engineering, MIT

Work Experience

Engineer at Airbus, two years

Engineer at Boeing, six years

Engineer at SpaceX, ten years


Relaxed, humble, easygoing, very calm, caring

Fire Test Results

Someone else created a dysfunctional air scrubber, he fixed it. His calm demeanour relaxed everyone else, and kept morale up.

Nuclear Engineer: Yermolai Orkov


Place of Birth: Moscow, Russia

Space Agency: Roscosmos (Russia)


Image result for sergei krikalev



Computer Coding, University of Moscow


Masters of Nuclear Engineering, University of Moscow

Doctorate of Nuclear Physics, University of Moscow

Work Experience

General Engineer, Moscow Nuclear Plant

Manager, Moscow Nuclear Plant


Shy, Withdrawn, likes to be inside

Fire Test Results

Hacked the computer system to take air from the main structure’s tanks and put it into their capsule, so that they had enough air to last the duration.




For the mission, a special type of engine would be needed. The ISEV Bucephalus is a massive spacecraft, and needs a very powerful engine. However, it also needs an efficient engine, that can get it around the solar system without using much fuel. Below are the engines that could potentially be used on the mission, and are attainable with modern technology.



How it works



Nuclear-Thermal Rocket

Liquid Hydrogen is heated in a nuclear reactor, and then pushed out of the nozzle

  • Simple

  • Only one type of fuel

  • Only a mid-range ISP Low Thrust

Open-Cycle Nuclear Engine

Expended Fuel from a nuclear reactor is ejected out of a nozzle along with hydrogen, which it then combusts.

  • Very high thrust, Very low ISP

  • Periodic removal of Nuclear Fuel not necessary

  • Exhaust creates nuclear fallout which could ruin large swathes of Earth and the other planets

Chemical Rocket

Liquid Fuel and Oxidizer are mixed and combusted out of a nozzle

  • Very simple, in use since 1920

  • versatile

  • relatively cheap to manufacture

  • ISP too high

  • multiple fuels needed (fuel tank would be too large)

Nuclear Lightbulb

Hydrogen is run over a nuclear rod (but is separated from the nuclear fuel) and pushed out of multiple nozzles

  • Very low ISP

  • high thrust

  • generates electricity

  • Expensive

  • Depleted Nuclear Fuel would have to be disposed of in another way

Ion Engine

Ions are accelerated out of a nozzle

  • Extremely low ISP

  • already developed and used

  • Extraordinarily low thrust


Choice of Engine: Nuclear Lightbulb


Rationale: The other engines had massive cons, while the cons of the Nuclear Lightbulb can be easily solved. Due to the overwhelming advantages, cost can be ignored. The nuclear fuel can be simply disposed safely of when they reach the Earth.


Below is a diagram of the Nuclear Lightbulb (NASA)


Image result for nuclear lightbulb




The current EMU suits that are used by NASA would not function on the surfaces of the moons. The legs do not move much, as the suits were designed for the Shuttle and ISS, where spacewalks would be a purely microgravity environment.


The Russian Orlan suits were designed for microgravity and the Moon, however they would not stand up to the radiation outside of Earth’s Magnetic Field.


Therefore, a whole new type of suit would have to be developed. Two suits have been designed, one smaller one for comfortability, flexibility, and easy work, and the other for more hostile environments.


The first would be a Skintight Suit, which provides mechanical pressure to the skin instead of the atmospheric pressure provided by all previous spacesuits. The helmet would be the only part pressurized with air.


The other would be a Hardshell Spacesuit, made with rigid materials instead of the soft cloth that spacesuits now use. This means that the suit can be pressurized to cabin pressure, and entered and exited quickly. The radiation protection would be much better, as all components can be made of lead, covered in plastic. Only the chestplate and helmet of the skintight are made of lead.


Type A SuitExtravehicular Activity Suit Type 2.jpgExtravehicular Activity Suit Type 1.png


Type B Suit


Spacecraft Design


The following section will include information about the design of the ISEV (International Space Exploration Vehicle) Bucephalus, and the landers. It will have diagrams of the landers, and a comprehensive description of the ISV Bucephalus.





The forest module is used for the relaxation and mental health of the crew as well as biological plant life experiments. Synthetic trees and plants, dirt, rocks and real moss and racks of plant experiments will be put in asymmetrically. This is important because everything else in the ISV Bucephalus will be symmetrical and even, and irregularity would be important. It will have earth sounds constantly played through it, such as rain, birds, wind, cicadas, etc.



Instead of coating everything in a meter of lead, the ISEV Bucephalus will use an active system. By spinning molten iron-nickel really quickly, similar to the earth’s core, you can generate a magnetic field. This will absorb all the excess heat from the ISEV Bucephalus, and be powered by six RTGs. It will also create it’s own aurora, due to the charged particles hitting the magnetic field.



The ISEV Bucephalus carries four open top shelters for it to carry micro-satellites, communications relays, the Saturn Polar Vortex Drop Probes and the atmospheric sample return probes.



Will have access to the cupola, the telescope, and will have the med-bay, and private comms room, for communication with family and friends, and the conference room, with a group of eight strap-in seats and a large screen for communicating with ground control. It will have access to the cupola, which has 360 degree viewing, and the telescope, which can take highly detailed, zoomed in photos of the stars and planetary surfaces.



The centrifuge will be four modules connected to the main ship by tubes with ladders in them. It will constantly be spinning, because this will create artificial gravity through centripetal force, keeping the crew's bone density up. It would be too hard to put the entire ship in artificial gravity, so the essential parts, where the crew would be spending the most time, would be in the centrifuge. The centrifuge will have four main sections: Bedrooms, Exercise rooms, a Greenhouse and a Recreation Room.


In the Sleeping Section, there will be eight bedrooms. The bedrooms will be small, with room for a single bed, a television, a desk, a personal desktop computer and a laptop for work, some shelves, and a radio with Bluetooth, USB, and CD compatibility. Every crewmember gets the choice of a hamster, tarantula, milk snake, rat, or bearded dragon. These animals will be genetically modified to have slow metabolisms, and consume less supplies. If a crewmember gets sick, or once every four days, they will sleep in zero-g in the zero-g hab module in the aft quad-compartments. This is because it is much more comfortable to sleep in zero-g.


In the Exercise Section, there will be (Two of each) treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, stair machines, stationary bikes, punching bags, free weights and a mat area for things like pushups, situps, etc. The eight crewmembers get time allotments in pairs, and do two hours of exercise a day. The exercise room also has a TV so the crew doesn’t get bored while exercising.


In the Greenhouse, there will be racks of potatoes, carrots, beans, and corn. UV lights will be turned on when crewmembers are not present, and regular lights when they are. The plants will be used as for as oxygenators as well as food supplements on the mission. Fresh food would quickly become unavailable, so the food produced in the greenhouse would keep morale up. The food stores would have enough so that they wouldn't need it in case of a malfunction, but the fresh food supplements would be available even if there wasn't. The walls will also mostly be glass.


The Recreation Section will have a table for eating at, as well as a personal computer for each crewmember for things like video games, movies, TV shows, etc . There will also be a high-quality radio system, for playing music or podcasts. There would be a ping-pong table. There would be many windows as well.


The centrifuge would be four large, slightly curved rectangular prisms with tubes connecting them. The tubes would be reinforced glass, and be 1.5 meters in diameter. For psychological reasons, a de-clawed, genetically modified therapy cat would be brought along. It would be kept in the centrifuge.




In the back, there will be four modules attached to a corridor. These will be kept in zero-g because they would be easier to work in like that. The four modules will be: Lab Module, Hab Module, Storage Module, and Logistics and Utility Module.


In the Lab Module, there will be experiments such as: A vacuum experiment, where objects can be exposed to the space environment, similar to the one on the Japanese module of the ISS. There will be a section for tests on the human body, with processing materials for blood, urine, feces, hair, and DNA swabs. There will also be eye tests and dart throwing for coordination. racks and areas for other experiments will also be available. Lab mice will also be in this section.

In the hab module, there will be eight sleeping compartments, as well as a “movie theater”, where the crew can gather and watch movies or TV in their off time, and the comms room, in which PSAs, presentations, education broadcasts, etc can be recorded.


In the Logistics and Utility module, there will be computers to monitor storage, equipment, crew health, the spacecraft, etc. The module would have controls for the robotic arms, and it would have feeds of all the exterior and interior cameras. It would contain the backup bridge and control room, in case anything happened to the main bridge and control room. It would also have the heat control, water reclaimer and oxygenator.


The Storage module would have food, drinks, and other consumables stored in it.They would all be accessible. It would have freeze storage, vacuum storage and regular shelf type storage. There would be a main corridor ⅔ of a meter across, and several small access corridors branching off from it. Other than water and air, it would store all of the consumables for the mission.


The Hab module would have small eight sensory deprivation areas for the crew to relax, as well as as a large empty area for microgravity games. It would have a private conference room, for one-on-one chats with ground controllers. It would have zero-g sleeping chambers for comfortability if someone gets sick or has insomnia.




In the front of the ship, there will be a cockpit, where all the controls for the ship, and all ship systems, will be. It will have direct access to the airlock/docking port. Directly below the cockpit, there will be a smaller control room. This room is where the landers will be controlled from when the Pilot isn’t on the mission. It will also be where all probes will be controlled from.


ISV Bucephalus.jpg



There are seven landers on the mission- for the moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Mimas, Titan, and Enceladus. Each lander is specialized for its own planet, and will be delivered to orbit around its own planet before the ISEV Bucephalus even arrives.


Io: The Armadillo can withstand the harsh radiation of the Ionian surface and holds one person

Armadillo (Io).jpg


Europa: The Mako can drill down 15 km under Europa’s ice and holds three crewMako (Europa).jpg


Ganymede: The Ursa holds three crew

Ursa (Ganymede).jpg


Callisto: The Nautilus holds three crew

Nautilus (Callisto).jpg

Mimas: The Kraken is designed for the low gravity of Mimas, and holds two crew

Kraken (Mimas).jpg

Titan: The Condor is designed for Titan’s low gravity and dense atmosphere. It can carry three crew, and last over a month on the harsh surface of Titan

Condor (Titan).jpg


Enceladus: The Direwolf has innovative Nuclear Thermal Rockets, and carries three crew

Direwolf (Enceladus).jpg


Atmosphere Sample Return Probe: Two of these will fly through the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn and collect samples to return to the ISEV Bucephalus

Atmosphere Sample Return Probe.jpg




T+0 Years

Location: Earth, Cape Canaveral, Florida

  • Crew will launch on two separate Orion MPCVs

  • One Orion will dock with the International Space Station

  • The other will stay on until Jupiter’s orbit, where it will boost itself to a polar orbit

  • The “Athena Fleet” is launched. It consists of the landers for every moon, and two refuelling tanks (one for each planet)

  • Although the ISEV Bucephalus could do a minimalist mission without refuelling, it would be preferable to be able to refuel her.

  • If she is unable to refuel at Jupiter, she will travel to all the moons (and carry out the landing missions) before returning home. If she is unable to refuel at Saturn, she will still be unable to burn into polar orbit, extending the mission by a few months. Therefore, both tanks will have large transfer stages. Once one tank has been used, the other will depart for Saturn.


T+1 Week

Location: LEO, HEO

  • After one week of setup and system checks, the ISEV Bucephalus will light its engine and boost itself up to a Jupiter Encounter.

  • Because the ISEV Bucephalus will be aerobraking into orbit, the burn will have to be exact, lest she burn up in Jupiter's atmosphere or not be able to capture into orbit. Although course corrections are possible, it is preferable not to have to make them.

  • As soon as they pass the orbit of the Moon, the crew turn on the Nuclear Reactor and Magnetic Field.


T+6 Months

Location: The Asteroid Belt


  • At almost exactly the half year mark, the ISEV Bucephalus passes the orbit of Mars. A few weeks later, it reaches the Asteroid Belt. This is a deceptive name, as it isn’t very dense. It is highly unlikely that one would find two asteroids within 2000 Km of each other.

  • Despite this, the crew are vigilant. At the speed that the ISEV Bucephalus is travelling, any asteroid collision would be a critical mission failure. The sleep cycle is changed from ten hours to six, just for this part of space. The crew needs to stay vigilant for the most time possible.


T+1 Year

Location: Jupiter

  • Ten months in, the ISEV Bucephalus enters Jupiter’s SOI

  • One month later, Jupiter’s features can be seen in more detail

  • Final course corrections are made as the ISEV Bucephalus

  • The crew can see the moons revolving around Jupiter

  • In two weeks, the crew gets close enough to Jupiter that they can see individual clouds and storms. They look into the eye of the Great Red Spot, and can see the swirls and eddies of the storm.

  • Jupiter gets bigger and bigger, until it is all they can see

  • The crew don their spacesuits, and close the hatches to every module, and close the engine port on the heatshield.

  • A four meter long atmospheric sample return probe is deployed. Shaped like a small plane, it will dive deep into Jupiter's atmosphere, and collect samples from several altitudes.

  • After the aerobraking is over, the ISEV Bucephalus will fly by Callisto, using its gravity to insert it into orbit of Jupiter.

  • The ISEV Bucephalus then travels to Io, and refuels in orbit


T+13 Months

Location: Io

  • Io is the second smallest of the Galilean Moons, just slightly bigger than Earth’s Moon

  • If you believe in a hell, it would look a lot like Io

  • It’s proximity to Jupiter presents two main problems- Radiation and Tidal Forces. Jupiter is a very radioactive planet, and Io is very close to it. The magnetic field that Io does have traps radiation inside, creating a sort of ‘radioactive greenhouse effect’

  • Jupiter’s gravity pulls on Io, heating up the core. This makes Io a very geologically active planet. Volcanic eruptions happen almost every second. Maps will date in only a century or so, due to incredibly fast tectonic activity.

  • Two days after arriving at Io, the ISEV Bucephalus docks to the Armadillo, a large one-person lander. The pilot enters the control room, and the Planetary EVA Specialist prepares to head to the surface, for the historic first landing of the mission.

  • Due to the massive amounts of radiation, several precautions will be taken. The Astronaut will wear the Type B suit, which will protect them from the radiation much more effectively than the Type A suit, although flexibility will be greatly reduced. The walls of the lander are a solid half-meter of lead, with the only seams being the docking port and the hatch. The Astronaut will also take a pill to saturate their liver, so radiation doesn’t ruin it. The entire crew has had sperm or eggs removed and stored for when they get home, even though the radiation protection should be adequate.

  • The lander undocks from the ISEV Bucephalus. Once the Armadillo Lander clears the magnetic field, it fires its descent engine. The descent to the surface takes about 12 minutes. As soon as the lander touches the ground at Media Regio, and all checks are complete, it is immediately depressurized. The less time on the surface, the safer it will be. Within five minutes, the Astronaut places their boots on the ground. There is no time for pomp and ceremony. They can’t run the risk of an earthquake or volcanic eruption, and the longer time spent on the surface, the higher risk of cancer the astronaut has.

  • While the astronaut is on the surface, they will be limited to 50 meters from the lander. If something goes wrong, they need to be able to get inside quickly. The EVA will last only two hours, although the suit has sixteen hours of life support.

  • After the two hours are up, the Astronaut will secure the samples to the inside of the craft, and will trigger the launch code. Although they are trained to pilot the craft if necessary, the superior piloting skills of the pilot are a better idea.

  • The Ascent takes about three minutes, and another 15 to rendezvous with the ISEV Bucephalus. After docking, the samples and experiments are put into storage, and the astronaut is granted the day off. The lander is undocked and puts itself into a polar orbit around Io, ready to scan it and take pictures. A polar orbit allows the spacecraft to fly above every part of the terrain, instead of the equator, as most orbits allow.


T+13 Months

Location: Europa

  • After about a day of transit, the ISEV Bucephalus arrives at Europa. While the other moons are interesting, Europa is the favourite of the landing crew, due to the nature of the planet and the interesting mission they will be conducting. Europa is the flattest planet in the solar system, as it is made of ice. It is also likely to have a water ocean under the ice, which is heated by the gravity of Jupiter.

  • The ISEV Bucephalus burns into orbit of Europa, and does an inclination change so that its orbit takes it over Pwyll Crater, near the South Pole. Its lower altitude means that it will be easier to drill all the way through the ice. The ISEV Bucephalus rendezvous with the Mako, a lander specially designed for Europa. It is much larger than the Io lander, because it is designed to support three crew for two months, the longest landing excursion during the mission.

  • The landing crew don flight suits, and grab three Type A suits and one Type B suit. All other necessary supplies are already on board the lander. After a day worth of checks inside the Lander, it undocks, clears the Magnetic Field, and deorbits. Descent goes nominally, with the pilot taking manual control in the last 750 meters to guide the Mako down to a gentle landing. The crew takes a day to grow accustomed to the 1/7th gravity, before the two EVA Specialists exit the craft for the first time. The first EVA isn’t much, just grabbing a few samples, planting a flag and saying a speech. Because that couldn’t happen on Io, two UN flags and two plaques are dropped. The flag can’t be planted in the regular way, so a small heater on the bottom will melt the ice, and then let it refreeze around the base of the flag.

  • During the next two weeks, the three crew collect samples from up to 1km in all directions from the lander. Excursions can take up to 12 hours. There are supplies of food (like a fruit rollup) and hamster feeders for water and gatorade in the suit's helmet. The EVAs happen a few times a week, and the ISEV Bucephalus puts itself in a Geosynchronous Orbit so that it is in communication with the Mako for the maximum amount of time.

  • After one day of preparation, the crew seal off the Flight Deck and fire up the heat drill on the bottom of the Mako. Toothed wheels partially come out of the sides of the lander. The Mako detaches from the landing frame, and is slowly lowered. There is 20 km of strong wire in each spool, made possible by bleeding-edge carbon nanotube technology. The Mako lander cost about as much as all of the other Jupiter landers combined, in part because of this.

  • The Mako begins its week long descent through the ice crust of Europa. There is fibre-optic cable woven into the descent wire, and the landing frame stays in communication with the ISEV Bucephalus. One cable is able to support the entire lander, however, if only one cable is left, the mission will be aborted.  After a week of drilling, the Mako reaches the end of the ice, 20 km down. Just the bottom airlock is exposed, and the service bays on that bottom level. It is too risky to expose the entire lander, in case all of the cables break.

  • The Surface EVA Specialist dons the Type B Suit, and enters the airlock. The airlock slowly fills with water until it is at the ambient pressure. The suit can change its buoyancy, so if anything goes wrong, it will just float to the top, where the Astronaut can enter the capsule. Right now, the Astronaut has it neutrally buoyant, so it can float like it is in Zero-G. The astronaut climbs up the side of the lander, until they reach the bottom of the ice. The Astronaut then changes the buoyancy to slightly positive, so that it is possible to walk upside down on the bottom of the ice. Due to the low gravity, blood will not pool in the head, and the astronaut can stay upside down for long periods of time. Several samples are collected. The astronaut then goes back down to the service bays on the side of the lander. They deploy several submersibles, which will go down to the bottom of the ocean. Although the ocean goes down almost 100 km, pressure on the bottom is not as high as at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, due to the low gravity. Four small submersibles are deployed, each with a different purpose. The first will collect samples from the ocean floor, and return the Mako. It will also use its arms to plant a small flag. The second will collect water samples from different depths, and return them to the Mako. The third will search for ‘black smokers’, hydrothermal vents in the bottom of the ocean. They can be found on Earth, and are the most likely place to find life on Europa. The fourth will act as a communications relay between the submersibles and the Mako, travelling to the average distance between the other four craft to have the best signal. The distance between the Mako and the ocean floor is actually larger than the distance between the Mako and the ISEV Bucephalus when the ISEV Bucephalus flies over the Mako.

  • If alien life is found, the mission will be extended by a week to study it more, and if possible collect samples to return to Earth. I can’t claim to know if there is life on Europa, but I find it more likely than not that life would be found.

  • The Mako will surface much faster than it can drill, due to some safety precautions being unnecessary. Once it reconnects with the landing frame, it almost immediately takes off, detaching from the landing engines and legs, and rendezvousing with the ISEV Bucephalus within the hour. Samples are transferred, and the spacesuits are put into the airlock. The Mako is ejected, and puts itself into a polar orbit around Europa to scan the surface. It will be able to use the ISEV Bucephalus as a relay until the Bucephalus passes through the Asteroid Belt on the way home, and then it will directly transmit back to Earth. This is done with all landers.


T+15 Months

Location: Ganymede

  • After another day in transit, the ISEV Bucephalus arrives at Ganymede. Due to the high gravity, there will not be much room for habitation. Thus, the landing mission will have to be short.

  • The Ursa docks to the Bucephalus. The crew go through the same procedure as they have for the last two landings. The Pilot and both EVA Specialists board the lander, clear the magnetic field, and land at Perrine, a flat area.

  • The Planetary EVA Specialist exits the craft. After about half an hour of inspecting the craft and landing site to make sure it is safe. If it is, the Orbital EVA Specialist will exit the craft as well. The EVA lasts twelve hours (with rest periods) and the Pilot takes pictures and videos of them working. The pilot wears the Type A Suit (without the gloves or helmet for comfortability), so that should a rescue EVA be necessary, the scramble could be under 15 minutes. Other tasks the pilot will complete will be systems checks, news dispatches, and visual observations of the terrain. There will also be some indoor science experiments to complete.

  • After the EVA is over, the three crew will sleep in their flight seats. The sleep-shift will be 12 hours. The next day, the two EVA Specialists leave the spacecraft, perform the same inspections, and begin their daily tasks. However, instead of extensive work around the landing sites, the two astronauts go in opposite directions, each venturing three km from the lander. They perform identical experiments, and should return around the same time, five hours later. After a one hour break, they head off, again, in opposite directions, in directions perpendicular to the places they just went (imagine a plus sign with the intercept at the lander). They return, again, after about five hours. They stow the experiments and enter the lander. After another twelve-hour sleep shift, they launch, intercept with the ISEV Bucephalus, stow the experiments, and eject the lander. The lander puts itself into a polar orbit around Ganymede in the same fashion as all the other landers.


T+15 Months

Location: Callisto

  • After a day of transit, the ISEV Bucephalus arrives at Callisto. Callisto is arguably the most beautiful world that the crew visits. It is also the most likely candidate for colonization of the Galilean Moons, because it is the farthest away from Jupiter, and the radiation is therefore much less. It has the same problem as Ganymede, with the gravity, and the mission will be almost identical to the Ganymede mission, with the exception of some different experiments.

  • The landing crew board the lander, deorbit, and land at Valhalla, a flat region of Callisto. They follow the same surface ops plan as they did on Ganymede. After three days, they pack up and head back to the ISEV Bucephalus. The lander is left in orbit, and the ISEV Bucephalus performs a very delicate maneuver to take it to Saturn.

  • According to the Oberth Effect, the lower altitude the engines are burned at, the more efficient the burn will be. The escape maneuver puts the Periaps just above Jupiter's atmosphere and the Apoaps at just above Callisto’s orbit. On the way down, it rendezous with the atmospheric sample return probe, which docks with it. At periaps, the ISEV Bucephalus burns to Saturn. Due to the lack of asteroid belt, the speed can be much higher than on the way to Jupiter. The crew leaves Jupiter behind, and Saturn starts to grow through their windows.


T+25 Months

Location: Saturn


  • Saturn is arguably the most beautiful planet in the solar system, with its cream-smooth atmosphere and extensive rings. It has less gravity than jupiter, and the only reason it is the second most massive planet in the system is it’s size. Saturn is less dense than water.

  • The ISEV Bucephalus will use the same technique to get into orbit- an aerocapture and then a gravity assist to enter orbit. This is the safest way, as it needs no work, so if there is a systems failure, the ISEV Bucephalus and her crew will still be safe.

  • Due to the trajectory of the ISEV Bucephalus, it almost immediately rendezvous’ with the Atmospheric Sample Return Probe on the way to the Cassini Division, the first destination. The Cassini DIvision is a large gap between the A and B rings of Saturn, and will be the easiest to get into.

  • Once the ISEV Bucephalus gets into the Cassini Division, it will circularize the orbit, and push itself as close as possible to the rings. However, it can’t risk getting too close. The dust could clog important machinery, and the large asteroids could damage spacecraft systems.

  • After a few days of systems checks after the Aerobraking, the Orbital EVA Specialist leaves the airlock, becoming the first person to spacewalk solo since 1966, when Buzz Aldrin exited the Gemini XII Spacecraft for five hours. Aldrin would later go on to be the Lunar Module pilot and second person to walk on the moon during Apollo 11. The gap is over 50 years and 1.2 billion kilometres.

  • The lone astronaut will venture into the rings of Saturn, grabbing interesting rocks while there, and deploying several microsatellites.

  • The Astronaut will travel over five kilometers from the ISEV Bucephalus, effectively becoming their own spacecraft. This is the farthest anyone has ever travelled from a spacecraft in history. The Planetary EVA Specialist is waiting inside the airlock should anything go wrong

  • The EVA lasts around eight hours, and it is a more difficult EVA than the ones that the astronaut usually has to make. The dust blocks the visor, so the astronaut has to constantly wipe the suit's visor. There is a lot of debris, with large asteroids, so the EVA is dangerous. However, the astronauts have been training for a long time, so it shouldn't be too hard.

  • After the Astronauts are safely inside, they change into their flight suits and head back into the cockpit. The ISEV Bucephalus then raises its orbit, so it is rendezvousing with Mimas, the first destination at Saturn.


T+25 Months

Location: Mimas

  • After a half day of transit, the ISEV Bucephalus arrives at Mimas. Mimas is a tiny moon, with a gravity of only 0.06 times that of Earth's. The main interest of Mimas is why it’s so cold. It’s close proximity to Saturn means that it should be heated by Saturn’s tidal forces, but it is still fully made of ice.

  • The low gravity poses a problem, in that landing and surface activities will be difficult. The Astronauts who land will have to use MMUs to get around. The Kraken Lander has claws on the bottom to hook into the ice, functioning in the same way as the Flags that were used on Europa and Callisto, melting the ice and letting it refreeze around the claws. The astronauts will also carry ‘portable handles’, that they can stick to the ground and hold onto.

  • The descent to the surface doesn’t take long, as the moon is small. They land in the large Herschel Crater, which takes up an area larger than Australia, and about ⅓ of the Mimantean Surface. The claws are heated up before landing, so the lander immediately digs in. The crew of two, the pilot and Planetary EVA Specialist, change into their EVA Suits immediately, as skintight suits require a long prebreath. This is because if the pressure exerted in the skin of the astronauts skin is less than the ambient pressure, they will suffer massive pain and will have difficulty breathing out. The Orbital EVA Specialist will not be on the landing mission, as they will utilize this time to do routine repairs on the ISEV Bucephalus.

  • The two astronauts leave the airlock. After the Planetary EVA Specialist checks over the systems, they start their Surface Mission. They start with sample collection and MSEPs around the lander. Over the course of a week, they venture out further and further from the lander. Due to the low Mimantean Gravity, they can travel out quite far with the MMUs, with no strain on their legs.

  • After the surface activities are complete, the lander launches, rendezvous with the ISEV Bucephalus, is unpacked, and then puts itself into a polar orbit around Mimas. The ISEV Bucephalus burns out of orbit. Instead of burning up to Titan, the next destination, it burns down, and flies by with Atlas and later Prometheus, which put it up to a Titan Rendezvous.


T+26 Months

Location: Titan

  • Titan is the prettiest moon of Saturn. It has a very thick, burnt orange atmosphere, which is so opaque that no surface features are visible. All current maps of Titan have been done by the Cassini Saturn Orbiter, which has used radar to penetrate the clouds and map the surface. Titan is like a primordial earth, but instead of being really hot, it’s really cold. It’s so cold that the lakes, instead of being made of water, are made of liquid methane. The atmosphere is Nitrogen, and denser than Earth’s. However, the gravity is only 14% that of Earth’s, making flight really easy.

  • The lander, called Condor, is an SSTO Spaceplane. The three Prime Landing Crew board, do their checks, and cast off. The procedure is the same as normal. They are quite practiced at this point. The Condor is the Pilot’s favourite lander, as it is a proper plane. It’s been over two years since the pilot has flown an actual plane, and they missed it. The pilot has a great time doing barrel rolls and loops and the like.

  • The Condor is designed for long duration landing missions. This mission will be a month long. The Type A suits won’t work on Titan’s surface. Since the ambient pressure is higher than the capacity of the suit, it would be extremely painful for the astronauts. The three astronauts have Type B Suits, which are also better suited to the very cold landscape of Titan.

  • The crew lands on the shores of Kraken Mare, Titan’s largest and deepest lake. The three exit the craft almost immediately to start their surface mission. The back of the Condor has storage in it. The crew deploy several craft. One is a hot air balloon, which will navigate Titan for the next five years, using the orbiting Condor and other landers as relays back to Earth. The crew also deploy four craft into the lake, three boat and a submarine. The boats will triangulate within a kilometre of each other, and always directly over the Submarine. The final vehicle is a small chemistry rover, which will slowly move around the surface and analyze the soil. The crew grab samples from the soil, atmosphere, and lake. One thing they test is the OrniPack, a Da Vinci-style ornithopter that straps over the suit backpack, and through flapping of the wings, allows the Astronauts to leave the ground and fly for extended periods of time. Although this would not work on Earth, the atmosphere and gravity allow the machine to function. The crew use these to greatly increase their range.

  • After a month of routine exploration, the crew takes off and rendezvous with the ISEV Bucephalus. The lander goes into a polar orbit of Titan. The ISEV Bucephalus departs for the final destination of the Mission. Enceladus, the most human-habitable moon in the solar system.


T+27 Months

Location: Enceladus

  • The ISEV Bucephalus arrives at Enceladus, and easily burns into orbit. Enceladus has fairly low gravity, so the burn doesn’t take long. It rendezvous with the Direwolf Lander, and the three crew get ready to land. The mission profile is very similar to that of the Ganymede Mission. The pilot takes the Direwolf down the the surface. The Direwolf is testing Nuclear Thermal Rockets, which are a good compromise between the chemical rockets used now and the Nuclear Lightbulb used on the ISEV Bucephalus.

  • Once the Direwolf lands at Diyar Planitia, the crew immediately gets working. They can’t afford to waste time. Earth will be in the right alignment soon, and the sooner they can finish their tasks, the sooner they can go home. All the Astronauts are, of course, happy to be on the mission, but they would probably miss home.

  • The crew does an almost identical mission to the Ganymede one. The first day, they do surface ops around the Lander. The second day, they travel out in a large plus sign. On the third day, they lift off again, first on the Nuclear Thermal Stage, then on a chemical second stage. The rendezvous goes well, and the lander goes into a Polar Orbit. The ISEV Bucephalus burns into a polar orbit around Saturn, as it has one more thing to investigate


T+27 Months

Location: Saturn Polar Orbit

  • Saturn has a really interesting Polar Vortex on the North Pole. All gas giants have polar vortexes, but Saturn’s North Polar vortex is unique in that it is a hexagon. One theory is that the wind speeds at the center and the edges are vastly different. To test this, the ISEV Bucephalus will be dropping several balloon-probes into different areas of the vortex.

  • After a few passes over the pole, taking about one week, the ISEV Bucephalus has collected all of the data it needs. It lights it’s engines, and drops it’s periaps so low that it is almost skimming Saturn Atmosphere, right over the Vortex. At Periaps, it takes advantage of the Oberth Effect and burns to Earth. Because of it’s current orbit, it can go much faster, as it will be burning above (in relative terms) the Asteroid Belt, and therefore doesn’t have to be safe and go slowly. The crew settles in for a long journey back home.


T+38 Months

Location: Earth

  • The ISEV Bucephalus lights it’s engines one last time, bringing the Periaps down to well inside Earth’s Atmosphere. The Periaps will be around fifteen kilometers above sea level, which should slow it down significantly. Certain lucky people in Canada, Russia, Alaska and other polar nations will get to watch it pass right over their heads. All flights that day are cancelled, just so nothing gets into the flight lane.

  • As the ISEV Bucephalus streaks through the atmosphere, the aerodynamic deceleration brings its Apoaps down from Saturn’s orbit to the Moon’s orbit. The mission isn’t quite over yet.

  • The ISEV Bucephalus travels up out of the atmosphere. It will not be using it’s engines to raise its periaps out of the atmosphere, as it will be flying by the moon and using the Moon’s gravity to raise the Periaps. While over the Moon, it rendezvous with two separate Orion MPCVs, which burn out of orbit and take the crew home. The ISEV Bucephalus then uses it’s RCS (while at Periaps) to take its Apoaps out of the Moon’s SOI so that it can stay in a stable orbit. With some refurbishment and much resupply, it could be used for more Jupiter-Saturn Missions, longer duration single missions to Jupiter, Saturn, or Mars (which was skipped in this scenario), or even single missions to Uranus.




ISEV: International Space Exploration Vehicle


Orion MPCV: Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a 4-6 person Command and Service Module currently being developed by NASA


LEO: Low Earth Orbit


HEO: High Earth Orbit


SOI: Sphere of Influence, the sphere in which a Planet’s Gravity has a significant influence


Critical Mission Failure: The worst possible mission failure. Mission Failure in which the crew and/or are lost.


Galilean Moons: The four largest moons of Jupiter. They were discovered independently by Galileo Galilei and Simon Marius at around the same time. They are, in order of closest to farthest from Jupiter, Io, Europa, and Ganymede.


EVA: Extravehicular Activity, or a spacewalk. Anytime an Astronaut’s shoulders fully leave the spacecraft. This can include routine EVA for repairs, science or sample collection, or emergency EVA for transfer between crafts.


Scramble: The time needed to exit the spacecraft in an emergency.


Oberth Effect: The faster a spacecraft is going, the more powerful the engines will be. Therefore, the lower the orbit is, the more powerful the engines will be.


Periaps: The lowest point in an orbit


Apoaps: The highest point in an orbit


T: The exact time of liftoff. A T- Value is the amount of time before the liftoff, and a T+ Value is the amount of time that has passed since the liftoff


Tidal Forces: When the gravity of another celestial body has an influence. This can manifest in several ways. For example, the tidal forces of the Moon create large waves and tides on Earth. The Moon is Tidally Locked to the earth. Jupiter’s Gravity causes friction inside Europa, heating its core and creating the subsurface ocean. Jupiter’s Gravity has the same effect on Io, but with more disastrous effects.

Tidally Locked: When a celestial body is rotating at the same speed as its orbit, meaning that one side of the body is always facing the planet and the other side is always facing away. The Moon and Europa are Tidally Locked


MMU: Backpacks worn by astronauts to maneuver away from a craft. They usually use nitrogen gas, and are controlled by a dual joystick system, one for orientation and the other for changing the lateral velocity.


(Letter)SEP: Surface Experiment Package, preceded by the first letter of the moon visited. E.G. Europa- ESEP, Titan- TSEP, Mimas- MSEP.


SSTO: Single-Stage-to-Orbit. Anything that can make it to orbit in a single stage.


RCS: Reaction Control System. Uses small spurts of nitrogen gas to align the spacecraft of make tiny course corrections.


RTG: Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator. Absorbs the heat from Plutonium-235 and converts it into electricity





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Extravehicular Activity. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2017, from https://msis.jsc.nasa.gov/sections/section14.htm


Physical Effects. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2017, from http://www.redbullstratos.com/science/physical-effects/


Pressure suit and helmet. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2017, from http://www.redbullstratos.com/technology/pressure-suit-and-helmet/



I'm very sorry you had to scroll through all that but I'm definitely too lazy to put it in a spoiler

I wrote this last year for a school project.

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On 11/8/2017 at 9:00 PM, Kosmonaut said:

Chung, W. (n.d.). ENGINE LIST. Retrieved February 18, 2017, from http://www.projectrho.com/public_html/rocket/enginelist.php

I've grown to expect that citation at the end of every propulsion discussion...

here's my control v:



You should really submit that to the Nasa Space Settlement Challenge...


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Astrologers do not have green forests.
should have dice.
Lord Master Animal gives "can be nuts" first of all,
including beer, sausage and fruit.
It was because he had asked the wizards.

The forest is caused by grass and paper.
will have a loop.
Limited Definition.

neural network has made the names of the planet.
Twitter was placed on the bed, and the image of the generator design.
The names were exoplanets. Designed for the characters of Star Wars, the neural network has made a lot of Lord of the Sith. this had Grand Moff Darth Salt.
He is very admiringly admirer, especially amdral.

alt qwerty o:
ooo † ø © øøøååßß߃ ˙Δ˚¬Ω≈ç√∫õμ
numbers above: ¡¢ ¢ ¢ ¢ ¨ ª ¯ ¯ ¯ ... æ ≥ ÷ = / * - 987 456 +
"Πø® ® ¥ OOO
/ =
|. | |. | |. | |. |
He looked at him.

(this was part of my writing practice that I had run through google translate)


Edited by Boorang
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/ http://floraverse.com/comic/seeds-war-is-hell/call-sign/666-subject-6/#comment-3501437166

I wrote today on book comparisons.
Instead of me
What is the meaning of this support? I'm writing random things.
In understanding the girl does not have sand and fishing.
This is the best form, says 'president'
but there is something called winslow.
other groups they think is the best kind of life,
but other groups think it is the best green form.
Winslow is forever.
cross the world.
Comic you end up analyzing and saying "Hey, who turned the light"

Edited by Boorang
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